The Villas Of The Ancients Illustrated. By Robert Castell
RA Collection: Book
The work is dedicated by the author to Richard, Earl of Burlington.
For other 17th- and 18th-century studies of Pliny's villas see: J.-F. Felibien, Plans et les descriptions de deux ... maisons de campagne de Pline (Paris, 1699); G. M. Lancisi, 'Dissertatio de Plinianae villae', in Dissertatio de generatione fungorum by L.F. Marsili (Rome, 1714); F.A. Krubsacius in Das Neueste aus der Anmuthigen Gelehrsamkei, 6-7, 11-12 (1760, 1762); P.J. Marques, Delle ville di Plinio (Rome, 1796).
Castell's study concentrates on two villas described in some detail in the letters of Pliny the younger - that at Laurentium, on the coast near Ostia, and the Tusculum, in the Appennines.
Ancient Roman villas and gardens had become models for country houses in the sixteenth century in Italy. Their influence may be traced in the Vatican Belvedere, Villa Madama and Villa Giulia at Rome and Palazzo del Te at Mantua, and in the writings and designs of Alberti, Serlio, Scamozzi and Palladio. The present book, dedicated to Lord Burlington, appeared in Britain at a time when Burlington and others were building their own villas, modelled on those of Palladio and the ancients - such as Pope's Villa at Twickenham (1720), Stourhead (1721-4), Mereworth (ca. 1723), Mavisbank (1723-39), Marble Hill (1724-9), and Burlington's own Chiswick House (1725-9). The villas and gardens of the Romans would remain an inspiration to architects and landscape designers throughout the century. In 1771 Edward Stevens, a former apprentice of Sir William Chambers, hung in the Royal Academy's exhibition his plan and elevation of 'the (Roman Villa) Laurentinum of Pliny the Consul' - possibly the first ever reconstruction of a Plinian villa put on display.
Another version of this book was also published 'for the author' in 1728, with English text only and no list of subscribers (ESTC N48775).
Name as Subject
Art history - Plans - Reconstructions - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century